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Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Toau, Tuamotus, French Polynesia

Day 36 & 37

The weather laid down for us our last night during passage: 15-20 knots. Jim was exhausted and so I took over night watch at 1am. We were nearing the Toau atoll but still about 14 miles off. It was pitch black outside, no radar... I didn't want to take any chances and Jim needed to get several hours of sleep so we hove-to with 2 reefs in the main. We discovered as we did so that turning Hotspur's bow 75* off the wind allowed her to continue moving upwind very slowly (2 knots) and would keep us from drifting back (and then having to beat back during daylight), like we would have to do if we were totally hove-to. Once the sun was up, I pulled out the jib and Hotspur took off – she loves to run, as Jim says. Jim was so tired he didn't come lunging on deck to see what potential catastrophe I might be causing. Believe it or not, I can sail this boat.

The atoll is larger than I expected. It looks like stubby green shrubs sticking out of the ocean, scattered in a line from faraway. As we got nearer, the shrubs became islands with a reefy just-below-water-rim connecting some. I'm sure in the pitch black dark of night they would have been almost impossible to make out.

The entrance at Anse Amyot is clearly marked by day (the lights on the buoys at night don't work and we would never have tried an entrance at night for the first time anyway) and it was an easy passage into the anchorage by lining up the sight markers. We hooked up to one of Gaston's and Valentine's mooring balls and relaxed. They own the island.

Carolyne jumped in the crystal blue water immediately – the view is stunning. Coconut trees and blue deep water that looks like coral is just a foot underneath – when actually it might be 10' or more below. It is simply beautiful. We are looking forward to some excellent snorkeling and can't wait to use our Go Pro underwater camera!

Carolyne baked a tuna casserole and made a fresh green salad, veg we procured at the market in Nuku Hiva. That evening she made her very first pizza – and it was delicious. She loves to cook and it is a huge help to me.

And we slept – hard.

NOTE: The Pacific Seafarer's Net announced a missing person and health and welfare on 2 sailors we met in La Paz, Mexico. If anyone has information about either of the 2 men, please contact Pacific Seafarer's Net – even if you don't have a HAM license – this is am exception.

Missing Person:
Mark Bristow
33' sv Circe
enroute from Baja California Sur to the Marquesas

Health & Welfare:
Andrew Green
sv Athena
enroute Tahiti to Am Samoa
not heard from since mid-April

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